If one of your favorite sushi rolls is a Crunch Roll, then you will LOVE this Crunch Roll Sushi Bowl recipe. It starts with a bowl of fluffy rice topped with imitation crab, crisp cucumber, avocado, fresh cilantro, crunchy, toasted panko crumbs, complete with a drizzle of eel sauce and spicy mayo. It tastes just like a delicious Crunch Roll, but is much easier to eat. 🙂

These sushi bowls are a big hit in our house right now. My youngest loves them and loves to help put them together. And I don’t mind making these, even on busy nights, because they’re super easy. They’re even quicker to put together if you can get a couple steps done ahead of time!

Keep reading to find more tips on how to make your own Crunch Roll Sushi Bowl’s at home.

WHAT’S A CRUNCH ROLL?

A crunch roll is a slight variation of the California sushi roll. Inside is filled with shrimp tempura, crab, avocado and sometimes cucumber. The outside is most commonly topped with tempura flakes and drizzled with eel sauce, a reduction of soy sauce, sugar and mirin (and doesn’t actually include any eel). Also, something to note, nothing is raw in a crunch roll!

VARIATIONS IN THIS RECIPE

Right away, you’ll notice one thing missing from my recipe is the shrimp tempura. I typically only make our sushi bowls with the crab, mostly to save on time. Dinner time is a very busy time in our house, which I know a lot of you understand, and it helps keep this quicker to just skip the shrimp.

However, if you have some extra time and want to add some shrimp to your Crunch Roll Sushi Bowl, I’m sure it would be an amazing addition!

Another slight variation in my recipe from a traditional Crunch Roll is the spicy mayo I use. Some restaurants serve the crunch roll with only the eel sauce, and other restaurants serve it with both the eel sauce and the spicy mayo. It’s up to you if you want to make just one or both. I like it with both, which is how I teach you how to make both sauces below.

If you don’t care for either one of the sauces or their ingredients, you can simply leave it out and the bowl will still be delicious! There’s so many different ways you could customize this.

INGREDIENTS

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  • Crab meat – this recipe uses imitation crab. It’s much less expensive than real crab, and is actually made up of fish! There’s no real crab in it at all.
  • Cooked white rice – I always make our sushi bowls with white rice, but brown would work too.
  • Cucumber – cool, crunchy cucumbers are the perfect addition to the different textures. (And if you happen to love cucumbers, you should give my Cucumber Pasta Salad a try!)
  • Avocado – another traditional Crunch Roll ingredient that adds a delicious creaminess
  • Fresh cilantro – this isn’t commonly used when making Crunch Roll’s, but I just happen to have it on hand often and it pairs really well with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Panko breadcrumbs – these are used as the crunchy topping. Tempura flakes are more commonly used to top off a Crunch Roll, but we use Panko breadcrumbs in this recipe. They’re toasted in olive oil and are a very similar taste and texture to tempura.

For the Eel Sauce

  • Soy Sauce – any soy sauce will work, but I always use the Kikkoman brand
  • Sugar – regular white sugar
  • Mirin – a sweet rice wine commonly used in Japanese cooking. It’s often used to add a mild sweetness and depth of flavor to various dishes, including sauces, glazes, and marinades.
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For the Spicy Mayo

  • Mayo – regular mayonnaise is best
  • Sriracha – the traditional hot sauce used to make spicy mayo
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STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS

The Prep

The prep work for this recipe might look like a lot, but it’s very manageable and can work around your schedule. The more you can make ahead of time, the quicker they are to throw together when you’re ready for one!

Eel Sauce

  1. Start with cooking the eel sauce. First, add the soy sauce, sugar and mirin to a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until it boils, stirring occasionally.
  2. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and let it simmer for about 5 minutes, or until it starts to slightly thicken. Remove the saucepan from heat and let it cool off.
  3. Once cool, transfer to a container with a lid and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Rice

  1. Make sure the rice is cooked and ready to go. I usually use white rice to make these sushi bowls, but you could also use brown.

Toast the Panko

  1. Add one cup of Panko breadcrumbs to a small skillet.
  2. Drizzle ¼ cup of olive oil on top of the Panko.
  3. Turn heat to medium and mix the Panko and olive oil well, until all the Panko is coated.
  4. Let it cook for about 2-3 minutes and stir it when you see it start to turn gold brown around the edges. Stir frequently for about another minute or two, until most of the Panko is a golden brown. (See picture below for a before and after.)
  5. Remove pan from heat and transfer Panko to a plate until ready for use. (If making these ahead of time, let the breadcrumbs cool and then store in an airtight container at room temperature.)
Before Toasting & After Toasting

Fresh Ingredients

  1. Start with finely chopping the crab and cilantro.
  2. Cut the cucumber and avocado into larger chunks.
  3. Once everything is diced, set aside.

Spicy Mayo

  1. In a small bowl, add the mayo and Sriracha. Stir well and adjust hot sauce to your liking. Cover and refrigerate until ready for use.

ASSEMBLING THE CRUNCH ROLL SUSHI BOWL

  1. Scoop rice into a bowl.
  2. Top with crab, cucumber, avocado and cilantro.
  3. Drizzle desired amount of eel sauce, followed with a drizzle of spicy mayo.
  4. Sprinkle toasted Panko crumbs on top. 
  5. Enjoy!

TIPS & NOTES

  1. If possible, make the eel sauce and spicy mayo the day before, or earlier in the day that you plan on having your sushi bowls. Putting them together is just that much faster if you can make both of these ahead of time.
  2. Another ingredient that helps to prepare ahead of time are the Panko breadcrumbs.
  3. The toasted Panko breadcrumbs add so much flavor and texture to the bowl. Definitely don’t skip out on this step!

Crunch Roll Sushi Bowl

This Crunch Roll Sushi Bowl recipe starts with a bowl of fluffy rice topped with imitation crab, crisp cucumber, avocado, fresh cilantro, crunchy panko crumbs, complete with a drizzle of eel sauce and spicy mayo.

Course Dinner, Lunch, Sushi
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 5

Ingredients

  • 8 oz imitation crab diced
  • 3 cups white or brown rice cooked
  • 1 cucumber diced
  • 1 large avocado diced
  • ¼ cup cilantro chopped

For the Eel Sauce

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp mirin

For the Spicy Mayo

  • ¼ cup mayo
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha

Instructions

Prepping Everything

  1. First, make sure the rice is cooked and ready to go. I usually use white rice to make these sushi bowls, but you could also use brown.

  2. Prep the ingredients. The crab and cilantro should be finely chopped. The cucumber and avocado can be cut into larger chunks.

  3. Cook the eel sauce. Add the soy sauce, sugar and mirin to a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until it boils. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from heat and let it cool off. Once cool, transfer to a container with a lid and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

  4. Make the spicy mayo. In a small bowl, add the mayo and Sriracha. Cover and refrigerate until ready for use.

Assembling the Sushi Bowls

  1. Scoop rice into a bowl.

  2. Top with crab, cucumber, avocado and cilantro.

  3. Drizzle desired amount of eel sauce, followed with a drizzle of spicy mayo.

  4. Sprinkle Panko crumbs on top. (Optional.)

  5. Enjoy!

If you like this, let me know how it turned out in the comments!

Meghan – Electric Mommy

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